project leader
University District INC
3646 Carrington
(Sherwood Forest- the University District)
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UDistrict "Buys the Farm" : Less Than $1,000 to Go!

the project

Please help us 'Buy the Farm'!  UDistrict, INC, the nonprofit trade association CDC for neighborhood leadership in our planning district begins our acquisition of property we intend to maintain as permanent greenspace with the purchase of a vacant lot from the Shelby County Land Bank.  We intend to buy and maintain this space as garden space for members in good standing of any of the eight neighborhoods in the University District, with half the lot allocated for individual raised beds (6'X20') and the other half allocated as a larger commercial garden from which we propose to host pop-up produce sales as crops are harvested.  We're hoping to install a greenhouse and garden year-round, but we need your help!  Won't you donate to our lift-off and make "UDistrict Farms" another fantastic asset that builds community and makes us heathier, happier neighbors?  

the steps

1. Attend public auction of this property, in tax foreclosure (Tax Sale # 1402) on December 4, 2017, money in hand, prepared to bid up to $2,000 if necessary for the lot purchase.  

2. Regardless of sales outcome (if we have to pay up to 2k or if the lot gets deeded for $230.40 in fees), we will arrange for utility connection and have water and power installed on site as our first order of business.  

3. We will purchase materials for the fence and volunteer farmers will construct a picket fence across the front of the property with a gateway pergola, connecting to chain link fencinig down both sides of the property (about 40% of which is already there and we will simply complete the chain link along both property lines to join at the front picket fence.  

4. We will install security flood lighting over the entryway, at midpoint on a large oak tree on the west side of the property, and a third in the very back, on an existing power pole.  

5. If funding permits, we will install a 'doorbell' 3 camera system that is motion activated.  .

6. We will continue gardening, canning, and building membership for our neighborhood associations using this garden as an organizing tool.   

why we're doing it

The University District- the planning district in Mempis, TN that includes eight distinct neighborhoods that cradle the University of Memphis and link their two campuses and sports venue- is currently undergoing a redevelopment renaissance wherein real estate is in very high demand, and public greenspaces have become scarce for the communities that provide housing for students, faculty, staff and our bustling business district.  Previously, nonprofits in our area have leased vacant lots on which they've sponsored community gardens, but as demand increases, we find ourselves leaving behind the soil we've tendered to perfection, reinventing garden spaces every year, never enjoying the second-year fruits of our labor- healthy, rich, fertile soil that yields healthier, more predictable crops.  Moreover, the labor involved in relocating garden supplies, equipment and materials annually is causing attrition among our volunteers, making it nearly impossible to keep communities engaged over time.  

The Shelby County Land Bank offers us a solution-  a permanent home for gardening space for our district's neighborhoods.  On December 2, 2017, we will have the opportunity to bid at public auction on a vacant lot located in Sherwood Forest, where our "UD Renaissance" hasn't quite caught fire yet and there is no new housing demand that would inspire developer competition for this lot.  Anticipating eventual ownership, we began "squatting" on this  200' X 60' lot in March of this year, with 14 volunteer gardeners workinig 6'X20' plots of their own and one large community watermelon patch.  We've grown more tomatoes, squash, okra, cucumbers and peppers than our families could consume and have shared the excess with neighbors.  This, in turn, has generated more interest in our garden and more 'volunteers' to help tend the lot.  

Next year, we intend to devote half the lot to a large commercial garden and host pop-up produce sales (as we did last year on a leased lot we had to vacate for development). Last year, our gardeners hosted canning classes at St Luke's UMC and we hope to continue this tradition in partnership with the church and continue use of their state-of-the-art commercial catering kitchen.  And eventually, we aim to have a garden just like this one in each of our UD neighborhoods, when/if space becomes available with our ultimate goal being to offer certified organic produce year-round (using greenhouses) to neighbors and local restaurants.  

Please consider donating to help make UDistrict Farms a permanent fixture in Memphis.  Help us keep momentum going- help us 'buy the farm.!   


DISBURSEMENT BUDGET (as of 9/11/17):

RAISED = $3,125.00
ioby Platform Fee  $35.00
Payment Processing Fee (3%) $90.00


BUDGET A: Assuming nobody bids on this property at public tax foreclosure auction

RE Closing fees :  $50

Taxes- city ($102.23 per year) plus county ($128.44 per years) five years banked = $1,153.55

Utility Connection: $200

Fence construction (volunteer 'farmers' will provide labor) = ~$600.00 

Securing the garden (because we've been vandalized twice so far this year): lights and cameras = : $996.45



BUDGET B: IF We have to pay full price for the property:

RE Closing:  $2,000

Fence Construction (volunteer farmers will provide labor)  - $600.00

Utility Connection= $200

Abbreviated lighting plan = $200


Since the lot will be acquired during live auction, we can't predict in advance whether or not we will have competition for this lot but if market trend dictates, we will not and will be able to execute Plan A.  


SUBTOTAL                                 $3,000

ioby Platform Fee  $35

ioby  Fee (3%) $90

TOTAL TO RAISE                        $3,125





UDistrict "Buys the Farm" : Less Than $1,000 to Go!

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank those who gave and those who are gonna!  Some of us are about to prep our beds for fall crops while others are still bringing in the tomatoes.  Eggplants- both white and purple.  Peppers- several varieties.  Watermelons, both red and yellow meat!  Once we own this property, we can start making permanent plans and adding permanent structures that will allow us to offer produce for sale this next Spring, roadside.  

Still time to invest!  Any amount will help- we can't wait to grow food for you! 

UDistrict "Buys the Farm" : We're Halfway Home!!!

Thanks to the generosity of TWO corporate sponsors - WIndow World of Memphis and Memphis Laminating Company, plus multiple amazing donations from neighbors, friends and family, we've reached the 50% mark - all in our first week of this campaign!  

And we've heard from so many more of you, waiting for payday this weekend to invest in us- thank you thank you thank you in advance!  If perchance we blow way past our goal, we'll go ahead and get started on that "barn-raising" we've been discussing, and if we raise even more than we need for the barn- we'll begin to look for additional vacant lots now, rather than later!   

Thank you for showing us so much love straight outta the gate- we love you this much, too, and can't wait to show you what we're building together!  Here's what we grew for breakfast this morning- by this time next year we hope to grow enough to invite everybody to breakfast! 


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


  • Stacey Cotton Norman
  • melboe
  • Hailey
  • Anonymous
  • Tyler "Green Thumb" Taylor
  • Allison & Bruce Harber
  • Mike Keeney
  • Cecil Humphreys
  • Jamey, Erica, Trey & Taylor Mac
  • Anonymous
  • Stephen T.
  • Pamela Rose
  • Daddy Buck
  • Linda Buchanan
  • Verlinda Henning
  • Tanja Mitchell
  • Michelle McShane
  • Jean
  • Mary
  • Eileen Knoblock
  • Edna E F.
  • Taylored Lawns & Gardens B.
  • The Griffins
  • Robert H.
  • Cindy C
  • Anonymous
  • Tiny Elvis
  • Cindy the Science Lady
  • J.D. Peery
  • Bobby & Patty Langley
  • Cindy & Bill Tupis
  • Shannon Langellier
  • Jimmy L.
  • City Chicks Farm
  • Aaron Hoffman
  • Jennifer Hyatt
  • Memphis Laminating Company
  • Laura
  • Window World Memphis